Did the Bengals cross a line with late field goal? The Ravens think so


The Bengals avoided being shut out against the Ravens in Week 5, but may have made an enemy in the process. Trailing late in the fourth quarter, the Bengals opted for a 38-yard Randy Bullock field goal that cut Cincy’s deficit to 27-3 with 32 seconds remaining, a choice that had Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale shaking his head.

“There are some people that take that as a victory,” said Martindale Thursday in comments transcribed by ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. “We’ll have plenty to talk about the next time we play them.”

Had the Ravens succeeded in blanking Cincinnati, it would have been their first shutout since 2018 when Baltimore pitched a clean slate against Tennessee in Week 6. Kicking a field goal to prevent a shutout is generally regarded as poor ethics, a violation of the “unwritten rules” akin to bunting to avoid a no-hitter. Settling for three in that scenario has not been a frequent occurrence with Sunday representing just the fifth such instance since the NFL merger in 1970 (h/t to ESPN Stats and Info).

Martindale didn’t wait to share his thoughts on the matter, letting the Bengals know as soon as Bullock’s kick went through the uprights. “[Bengals coach Zac Taylor] knew what it was because it was awful quiet when I yelled it across the field.”

The Bengals’ stunt also seemed to rub head coach John Harbaugh the wrong way. “I guess you just have to look at it that way,” said Harbaugh, lamenting a pair of fourth-down conversions that extended the drive, eventually putting Cincinnati in field goal range. “I’ll just leave it at that.”

Sounds like the Ravens already have a wealth of bulletin board material for their next matchup against the Bengals, scheduled for Week 17 in Cincinnati.

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